Over the last year I have somehow managed to get myself invited along to a couple of free Liverpool Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) events. They are having a real drive to get more women interested in real ale and they are doing this by feeding me delicious free beer (it is totally working). They are doing so well at recruiting new members (both male and female) that they have been awarded the national membership award. On Tuesday night about 30 women attended an event in The Dispensary to celebrate this award. As well as some tasty nibbles and a fabulous cake (see picture) there were five real ales to taste.
Now I am pretty new to real ale (more of a G&T or sauvignon blanc kind of gal) and am just beginning to get my mouth round the vocabulary but I will try my best.
We started with a nip of Ossett Brewery’s Silver Shadow. It was a light gold pale ale. It was refreshing and light with a nice hoppy flavour and very drinkable. Next up was an amazingly weird and interesting stout from Titanic Brewery (pictured). It was called Cappuccino and smelt exactly like Tia Maria and tasted like the barman had put a dash of it in the glass before the beer. And it came with chocolate sprinkled on top! It was quite tasty and a novel experience but not being a big fan of stout the smell was the best bit about it for me. The third of a pint was enough for me but some of the other women present said they would have it as pudding.
Next we headed north to the Lakes for Hawkshead Brewery’s Lakeland Gold. This darker more full bodied bitter isn’t really my thing to drink as I like beer as light as possible. However, as we discovered at another CAMRA event, this beer goes very well with cheese, especially strong cheddar. (If you haven’t tried beer and cheese matching before you really should – we are a little bit addicted)
Next up was the delicious Decade from the York Brewery. It was light blonde ale with citrus and floral notes, and I could have drunk many pints of it. So I was rather sad when I returned to the bar for a second pint to find it had run out. Luckily the replacement was as good, if not better. So the evening finished with White Rat from the Rat Brewery in Huddersfield. It was similar to the Decade in that is was light and slightly fruity with a lovely flowery sweet aftertaste. So the best beers of the evening were, for me at least, White Rat and Decade. A group of us are off to Keswick Beer Festival on the Jubilee weekend and I really hope they have one of those two on tap.
If you haven’t tried much real ale I can thoroughly recommend putting in some effort to find what you like. Yep, some is pretty unpleasant but some styles are fabulous, you just need to find the right one for you. I have had to get over my slight embarrassment at drinking half pints (it just feels so juvenile or like an old lady, and makes my hand look so big) but ordering a pint often means half way through I decide I don’t like it. If you want to try lots of different beers we would recommend the Roscoe Head (behind Hot n Tender on Leece St) as you can get a tasting tray of three thirds of different pints in a rack. Good way to try new things (and only small if you don’t like it!) For beer to drink at home Ship in a Bottle on Whitechapel has a great selection of local, national and international bottled beer.
Descriptions and drinking assistance from Lindsey and Josephine.